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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Lerner

How top performers procrastinate differently

"Quiet quitting" might be a risk for less motivated employees. But your best people squander months of runway too. Hint: the time thief is not Sudoku or Overwatch. It's actually other work. My CFO friend is a great example: He and his partner are expecting a baby soon. The moment he found out she was pregnant, he started updating the family's budget, savings and spending plans. Months later, its become a major project! Of course all expecting parents should reconsider their financial plans but is that the most important thing he could be doing? Are there other things this expecting father could be doing that might be more useful? Probably. But finance was his comfort zone, and during this stressful time, he needed to feel useful and competent. You see my point, right? Earnest, talented motivated high-achievers want to do a good job. So they'll gravitate toward the work they know how to do well, rather than the work that needs to get done. But in a startup, 90% of your results will come from 10% of the work you do. And, most times, that 10% is not the easy familiar stuff. Sometimes the work we're not good at is the work that needs to be done.

Simple next step It's November. As you evaluate your 2023 plans, ask yourself and your team the following questions:

  1. "What's the most impactful thing we should be working on?"

  2. "If this works, how big can it be?"

  3. "Will this move our rate-limiting step in the business?"

But, those priorities will probably survive for about two weeks... Inevitably, our attention will drift, so you'll need constant reminders. Next year, during your weekly and monthly check-ins, make sure to start off with "the important work." If this sounds familiar, it's just another incarnation of "Sevens kill companies." Because friends don't let friends work on "sevens" in 2023. Speaking of 2023... What's your top priority for next year? If it's faster growth, check out our Coaching Programme. We'll help you find your most impactful work and execute it in a 10-week intensive. You'll work directly with me, Nopadon, and our team of 12 startup growth experts. Next cohort starts 6th Feb, 2023, applications are open, and we'll likely fill up before the application deadline of 16 Jan 2023. (overview)

P.S. Thanks to my friend and mentor Peter Karpas for introducing me to this approach.

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